When finance minister Arun Jaitley announced in his budget speech this year a commemoration of 200 years of Paika rebellion, not many outside Orissa would have heard about it before. Among the first armed uprisings against the British East India Company, it never found its place in history books where 1857 is the officially recognised as the first war of independence.
“Two hundred years ago, in 1817, a valiant uprising of soldiers led by Buxi Jagabandhu (Bidyadhar Mohapatra) took place in Khurda. We will commemorate the same appropriately,” Jaitley had said. Recognition of the Paika rebellion at the national level brought much cheer to Orissa—and was welcomed even by chief minister Naveen Patnaik.